Saturday, November 25, 2017

To Montrondo for the week, sun in November, a missing submarine, International day against violence to women and other stories.

Sunday 26th November, 2017
The amazing November sun we enjoyed this week in Montrondo. Here on one of our walks to Senra and back.
Good morning everyone from Montrondo. Eladio and I came on Sunday to spend the week here to recharge batteries and enjoy life in the country. We also came to enjoy the house we rebuilt 2 years ago now and which we consider our second home. 

When we left last Sunday our 15 year old Volvo S60, my ex Nokia company car, wouldn't start. The battery had run flat after Eladio had left the fog lights on by mistake. So we had to take my new Mini. Eladio prefers to use the Volvo which, being an old diesel car, will soon not be allowed on the roads haha. It's old yes, but only has 115.000 km in its engine so could keep going for years. But I far prefer my Mini Clubman which has all the new gadgets cars are equipped with these days. We had to stop to inflate the tires which is always boring and didn't leave until 11.30. 

By 13h we arrived in Rueda for our traditional stop at the Palacio de Bornos winery. It was nearly lunch time so our yummy plate of ham and fresh bread sprinkled with olive oil and washed down with the mouth-watering local white wine made from the "verdejo" grape would be our midday meal on Sunday.  We ate outside in the sun so that Pippa could join us. She got to taste some of the bread and ham but not the wine hahaha. 
Eladio and Pippa at the Palacio de Bornos winery on the way to Montrondo on Monday
It was lovely to travel to our destination on a Sunday when most people were returning to face work on Monday. I, on the other hand, can work from anywhere and feel as free as a bird. What's more, as someone who is self employed I am the manager of my own time which is a luxury in these stressed times. 

It was a sunny day. It has been so dry as there has been very little rain and there really is a drought in Spain at the moment. We arrived in Montrondo by about 3.30 and spent at least an hour unpacking, mostly the mountains of food I had brought to last us most of the week as there are no shops in the vicinity. It was 13ºc outside but the house would have been frozen if we hadn't remotely turned on the central heating. However, we only remembered to do so once in Rueda so it would take some time for the house to feel really warm. We really should remember to do so earlier next time we come. 

The village was quiet and of course at this time of year there are very few people, except for the permanent inhabitants, 10 or 12 neighbours only. So it was good to see Salo who lives in a huge house next door. She brought me up to date on the village news. I was sad to learn that Augustin, who went to school with Eladio and has suffered from kidney failure most of his life, is now in hospital in León where his wife, Lourdes, who tends to him so lovingly and will be at his side every moment of the day and night. She once told me that she was 13 or so when she first fell in love with him. My thoughts are with them. 

It gets dark here at 6pm, so if we wanted to take advantage of daylight and the last rays of sunshine, we had to set off on our walk as soon as we were ready. As it hadn't rained, the autumn leaves are still on the trees and the colours, although not as vibrant as in early autumn, still made the scenery attractive. We took the old path to Murias. 

We had to stop, as is something of a tradition, for a photo by "God's rock" (la peña de Dios) which is the half way mark between Montrondo and Murias, the nearest village.
By "God's Rock" on our first walk when we arrived on Monday
It was great to be back in Montrondo, to be back in such a peaceful environment and, most of all, in our very own village. Here is Eladio enjoying the walk too.
Eladio on our walk on Sunday on the old path to Murias. 
Eladio joined me as far as the "camino valle". I needed more exercise if I was to work up an appetite for dinner so carried on up the hill and walked all along the path overlooking the river to Murias. 

I came home to watch another episode of Victoria. We then had a light dinner, watched a bit of TV and went to bed early. 

We watched the news of course and I was very sorry to hear about the Argentinian submarine which had gone missing in the South Atlantic sea, off the coast of Patagonia. The last signal it emitted was on Wednesday 15th November. I remembered the Russian submarine called Kursk which went missing many years ago and the tragic end it had. I  hoped that  the "ARA San Juan"  with a crew of 44 would have a better fate. Time was against the submarine as if it had lost its battery  and was lying at the bottom of the sea  and could not be found, the 43 men and one woman sailors on board would not last long. There is debate as to how long the oxygen reserves of the submarine can last; up to 7 days apparently. Help is being given by the navies of many countries to search for the San Juan, while the family members of the crew prayed and waited for news. What an awful situation and a horrible way to die. I wonder why submarines don't have a way for trapped people to get out in situations like this. They do apparently but only up to 100 metres below the sea and not 1000s of metres which was the case of the San Juan. 
The missing submarine
Monday dawned. I was up at 6 as usual. I do wish I could sleep until a bit later - sigh - It was -3ºc outside, colder than Helsinki hahaha but mercury would rise higher than the Finnish capital later in the day. Airbnb has been very quiet these days. It's quite obviously the low season so I was surprised to get a few enquiries that morning. I was even more surprised to get a booking from Home Away which is now my second reservation with this new platform. My phone was pinging all day with notifications from both apps. You see that is my work too. 

Before breakfast I started making home made bread to last us a couple of days. Here I have no Kenwood or dough hook so have to completely hand make the bread but it still comes out perfectly. We no longer buy bread as our own bread is so much more healthy. While it was proving twice I worked on stuff for Adamo. I love working from my little study here as there are zero distractions. 

For the bread I used various flours, 2 of which were from the bakery here in Murias. I didn't have any seeds or walnuts to add but even so it was delicious. This time I made baguette type loaves and scored the bread properly after watching a tutorial on You Tube. This is what it looked like.
The multi cereal loaves of bread I made on Monday this week in Montrondo. 
The kitchen smelled delicious. With work done and lunch prepared, it was time for our morning walk if we wanted to take advantage of the glorious sunshine. So off we went with little Pippa to Murias and back. The photo illustrating this week's blog is of me  on that walk, just wearing a t-shirt as it was warm and I had to shed some of the layers of clothing I was wearing. Imagine in November!
On our morning walk in the sunshine to Murias on the old path on Monday morning. 
We came home to have a mouth watering lunch of lentils for our first course and chicken and artichokes for the second. In Spain it is normal to have two courses for lunch, although I don't always adhere to that but on Monday I did. 

After watching the news and a siesta it was 5pm and there would only be one more hour of daylight, so off we went for our second walk of the day. This time we went up the mountains as far as the birch tree forest ("El Abedular"). On our way we saw Manolo, a local farmer, who was tending to his farm, his cattle, his tractor, etc. The man never stops working. It's always nice to stop and chat to him. I asked after the calf he had been hand feeding last time we were here. He's still hand feeding it and I vowed to see it before we left but I never did. 

It was icy on the steep path up and I was wary because it was on ice on this path that in 2015 I slipped and fell and broke my leg. Thankfully soon it turned to slush. We were the only ones on the path and also thankfully there were no cows for Pippa to run after so she walked without her leash which pleases her and me. I love the colours of the trees at this time of year and although not as vivid as a month or so ago, they are still beautiful. You can see the colours in the photo below where I got Eladio to pose for me. 
On our walk up the mountains on Monday afternoon.
It was dusk as we walked down the mountains but the sky was pink announcing another sunny day to come. I always learned as a child from my Father the saying which I'm sure most of you are familiar with: "red sky at night, shepherds' delight" and "red sky in the morning, shepherds' warning". So Tuesday would be another sunny day. Unfortunately rain was forecast for Thursday until Sunday.  I mustn't complain though, as rain is needed so much here. 

Again after our walk, I watched more of Victoria and have now seen 4 episodes out of the 7 in Season 2 and I don't want it to finish. What a fascinating lady she was and what a fascinating era it was too.

Oli, meanwhile, was enjoying a day off from work after her trip to The Maldives. She and Miguel spent the day in town, having lunch out and doing Christmas shopping. She also bought a new red coat, presumably to replace the one that was stolen when she flew to St. Petersburg recently. I like it and look forward to borrowing it from her hahaha.
Oli wearing her new coat on Monday in Madrid
After a light dinner of tuna fish salad, we watched the news and then started on a new series on Netflix. Inspired by my friend Sandra who is watching it too, I added The Royal House of Windsor" documentary to my list and we started it that night. I am a sucker not just for British period dramas but for films and anything to do with the British royal family so I knew this series would be right up my street. It's pretty recent too, having first been broadcast in February this year. What I didn't like was having to watch it in Spanish for Eladio's sake but that's one of the downsides of our mixed marriage, we have to watch everything dubbed into Spanish:-( Perhaps because of that, but also because I had been up since 6 in the morning, I soon fell asleep.

On Tuesday again I was up early, at 06.30 and after reading the news and having breakfast I prepared our lunch; lamb casserole which looked scrumptious. Well I adore lamb and food always tastes better here probably thanks to the mountain air.

I worked part of the morning on a new comms plan for Adamo until it was time for our walk. We set off with little Pippa to Senra at about midday. On our way I greeted as many animals as I could, especially this lovely donkey and its companion pony. I always forget to take sugar lumps for them.
I love greeting the grey donkey and brown pony on our walks to Murias and Senra.
It was a beautiful day and I think the cows thought so too as they lay on the dry grass. They probably weren't happy about the quality of it but looked peaceful enough. I remarked to my husband that cows are one of my favourite animals as they are usually so tame. 
Cows in the fields on our way to Senra
He prosaically replied that they are a main source of food in the world; milk and meat. Red meat is no longer in fashion but it is still my favourite.

We got to Senra (about 4km from Montrondo) and our reward there was a cup of coffee outside the bar, Cumbres de Omaña, in the sun. I ordered the coffee inside and was greeted by neighbours from Montrondo, Belén and Guzmán at the bar. They kindly insisted on treating us to our coffee. That was such a nice gesture and very typical of the people in this area.
Coffee in Senra on Tuesday morning
Eladio sent the photo to his sister in León who remarked how handsome he looked. Well he does doesn't he hahahha.

We walked back in the sun which was quite remarkable for this time of year. It's never sunny in November in Montrondo, well hardly ever, and it must be due to the climate change which worries us all. But then again, I love the sun. And here I am on the walk with Pippa in my arms. I posted it on Instagram and Facebook and a Finnish friend asked if Pippa ever walks. Hahaha, sure she does; I just pick her up for photos because she is too small for photos taken with me when she is standing up hahaha.
Enjoying the sun on our walk  back to Montrondo on Tuesday morning
Needless to say the lamb casserole was delicious. A siesta was in order afterwards. We were awake again at 5pm. Eladio said we had walked enough for the day, so we spent the rest of the afternoon watching Netflix. Our choice this time was a film called "London has Fallen". It is a very exciting, if rather exaggerated terrorist story about huge attacks on London and how a bodyguard saves the President of the US. It's just our sort of genre although there was a bit too much shooting.
Our choice of film for Tuesday afternoon
While we were lounging in front of the TV, Manolita, a much loved villager, called to see us. It was nice to have a visitor but we are also very fond of her and she is very close to the family. We chatted and laughed until it was past dinner time. I would be seeing her again the next day. Dinner was a small affair after which we finished watching the film. We then started on a documentary called The Second World War in Colour. Luckily for me you can only watch it in English and luckily for Eladio there are subtitles in Spanish. Once again we watched a documentary until I fell asleep. 

Tuesday turned into Wednesday. I was up at 06.30 and by 8.05 had made dough for bread which was proving already in the airing cupboard. It would be ready by 11. This is what it looked like. Eladio remarked it was just how he liked it with lots of crust and not much crumb. I actually like it the other way round.

The loaves of bread I made on Wednesday
I then set about preparing lunch so as to have time for work and my walk. I made bean stew "fabada"  followed by a cod dish which I knew Eladio would love. After working on my communications plan which I would finish on Thursday, off we went for our walk to Senra at about midday. With a stop for coffee at Cumbres de Omaña it would take about 2 hours. Eladio joined me as far as Murias. On our way I enjoyed seeing the animals pasture in the fields, cows of all colours, sheep, "my" grey donkey and pony as well as horses. They all make for a beautiful sight, especially the horses. These are Manolo's and I especially love the brown one with white hair. I think it is a shire horse.
Some of Manolo's horses in a field in the village
Pippa and I were back by 2, just on time for our delicious lunch. It was not as warm as the previous days with some wind and when the sun disappeared it was very cold. Later the weather would take a turn for the worse and it rained in the afternoon.

As always, after lunch, we watched the news. The big story on Wednesday was the sentencing of Ratko Mladic, the former Bosnian Serb commander. He was jailed for life for genocide and other atrocities in the 1990s Bosnian war at the court of the United Nations in The Hague. It was a trial that had started nearly 5 years ago after Mladic was caught in hiding. He had behaved defiantly throughout, pleading innocent against all charges and denying the evidence. 
A defiant Ratko Mladic during the trial

He behaved so badly he was sent out of court and was not present when the judge read the sentence. Who were present though were many members of the victims' families who cheered at the verdict. Known as the "Butcher of Bosnia", he is most famous for having led forces during the massacre of 8000 Muslims in Srebrenica wiping out entire families. I do hope that for the victims' families the verdict comes as some sort of solace for ruining their lives. 

Later in the afternoon I was invited to coffee with the ladies of the village who nearly always go for  a walk in the afternoon and then have coffee together in one of their houses. I like to join them sometimes and was happy to be invited yesterday. Present were Salo, Manolita and Josefa. 

I came home to prepare dinner but before sitting down at the  table, Eladio and I started watching yet another film on Netflix. Our choice that evening was a film called "Room" made in 2015 about a kidnapped woman and her child born in captivity to her kidnapper.  
The film we chose to watch on Wednesday evening
It’s very claustrophobic and a mother’s worst nightmare. It is based on the 2010 novel by the Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue who wrote it after hearing about 5 year old Felix in the case of the Austrian monster Fritz. 

I didn't sleep well that night and on Thursday morning was awake at around 5 am although I forced myself to stay in bed until 6.20. I woke up to rain which is very welcome in Spain because of the acute drought but it would mean an unpleasant walk that day if there was to be one. You see, I'm not so English anymore and if I can, I avoid going out in the rain hahaha. That's because I'm spoiled for weather in generally sunny Spain.  

It was Thanksgiving Day in America, the US' biggest celebration. It's funny that it's the one US tradition that hasn't yet been exported to the rest of the world. The news showed huge traffic jams in Los Angeles and no doubt there were more all over the vast country as families gathered together. 

I worked all morning and my communications plan was ready by 12. It had been raining but just as we stepped outside to get ready for our walk the weather changed for the better and it was sunny throughout. More sun in November! We couldn't believe our luck. Once again we had a cup of coffee at Cumbres de Omaña in Senra and once again Belén and Guzmán were there and once again they treated us to our coffee.  
Coffee in the sun in November at Cumbres de Omaña in Senra on Thursday morning
We came back to have a lunch of leftovers as that morning I had had no time to cook. The news that day at lunchtime was not good for the families of the missing crew from the San Juan submarine. The Argentinian Navy had confirmed there had been an explosion shortly after it emitted its last signal and that it had probably sunk to the bottom of the sea which was 3000 metres deep with no chance of survival.  There has been no official news of the death of the crew as the sub had not yet been found but it is obvious now that the crew is dead. My heart goes out to the families. It was terrible news. There had been complaints from them of the lack of or late information as well as stories that the submarine was old and had suffered from breakdowns in the past. Apparently Argentina invests very little in defence. That day the families of the victims had nothing to thank the world for. They had lost many family members. Friday would be Black Friday but for them that day was Black Thursday. RIP.

The other news that drew my attention was about the drought in Spain which has been reported to be the worst in many years. Apparently Spain is now the driest country in Europe.  The sun in November in Montrondo and in most of the country, certainly contributed to this state of things. 

There was no siesta for me on Friday afternoon as I had a conference call with Adamo. It was to be a video conference call using Google Hangouts, quite a neat application and easily downloaded on a PC. However, the band width of our internet here, plain wifi and not fiber, made for an impossible connection and we had to resort to a phone call.

Once it was over and I had submitted my communications plan I was free to do whatever I wanted. It was raining outside so once again we watched TV. We finished the film "Room" which in the end we found excellent, especially when they got out. That was when the claustrophobia ended and the film became much more interesting. 

From "Room" we moved on to start watching a new TV series, the very recent "The Sinner". It's the story of a woman and mother with an unknown past who suddenly kills someone by a lake with no apparent reason. It had us binge watching until past midnight. We only stopped for dinner and to have a chat to Oli who rang to find out what her parents were up to; well we were binge watching a TV series hahaha. 
The new Netflix TV series that had us glued to the TV for hours on end. 
Friday dawned and thankfully I slept until 7 in the morning after a late night watching TV.

It was Black Friday, another US tradition which was forced on the rest of the world quite recently. I am not going to be taken in by it as I suspect somehow that the prices are not as low as people may think, as sellers around the world online and off have probably been increasing prices before  only to decrease them today. People, especially in the US, after eating their turkey queued  up outside big stores to rush in and buy things they probably don't need.

I would be shopping on Black Friday too but just for food  as on Fridays there is a street market in Villablino which I always like to go to. Eladio, who is not at all keen on shopping of any kind, would accompany me, somewhat reluctantly. 

We left at 10, leaving Pippa behind which I know she hates. There were patches of fog and it was raining slightly. Even so we enjoyed the ride on the mountain road surrounded by forests and their autumn colours. The photo below does not do the scenery justice.
The road to Villablino from Montrondo.
Once in Villablino, a mining town which I never used to like but now appreciate more since it opened the superb Gadis supermarket a chain in the north of Spain and also because of the Friday market which has lots of bargains. I did not see any signs of Black Friday at either, thankfully. We parked at Gadis and did our shopping of the week, most of which we would take back to Madrid. Then, before visiting the market, we walked across the town to the Selene cafeteria on one of the main streets, where they offer lovely buns and pastries for free with their coffee. It was first introduced to me by my sister-in-law, Dolores, and now it's a must when we go. Eladio was astonished at just how cheap it was; a paltry 2.20 euros for both of us.
Coffee and pastries at the Selene cafetería in Villablino
We were not at all hungry and pastries at mid morning play havoc with my appetite for lunch but we still enjoyed the moment.

From the café we walked to the street market which is held every Friday morning. Here I picked up some bargains, a long blue down feather coat for just 30 euros and a pair of matching flat fur boots for just 10 euros. The latter are probably made from cardboard hahaha but they are very fashionable. 
Shopping at the Villablino Friday street market this week
This was my Black Friday shopping although the street market was just selling at normal prices and was no different to other Fridays when it is held.  Later I read that Spain is the country in Europe which spends the most on this over hyped consumer day. I had had no plans to buy either a coat or boots but these were real bargains and they didn't  come under the umbrella of this new US consumer tradition. The Moroccan owner only had one small size left which fitted me perfectly. He told me that 90% of people who bought from his stand asked for large or extra large sizes. I didn't dare tell him that I was once one of them hahahaha.
Happy with my purchases from the Villablino market on Friday
Before we left, Eladio wanted to buy some  Christmas lottery tickets for the famous "el gordo" jackpot which is drawn on 22nd December. He ended up spending 300 euros on the "décimo" tickets with 4 different numbers.  I couldn't believe it. My husband had just spent that much money on the lottery or rather he had thrown it away.  That is how I see it, pretty much a waste of money. However, for Spaniards, buying lottery tickets is perhaps the main Christmas tradition. The Spanish Christmas lottery is considered the biggest lottery worldwide. It draws many prizes, the biggest being the "el gordo" jackpot which is worth 720 million euros. People buy "décimos" which are a tenth of one ticket. So if you had a décimo of the "el gordo" prize you would get one tenth of the winnings. Many people share "décimos" too. If we win - very unlikely - maybe we will become millionaires, hahaha. We shall be giving each daughter a "décimo" so that if we win, they win too. Last year, one of their friends, did win the "gordo". Teresa, her mother and sister became rich over night and Teresa spent part of her winnings on a lavish wedding and a new flat. 

Once home we told Suzy about it as she had asked her Father to buy her a ticket. We spoke to her via a whatsapp video call which is always fun. She was having lunch in her flat in Acton Town which is where she has moved recently. She seemed in fine spirits which I was happy about. 

After lunch it rained all afternoon and all through the night so on Friday we were cheated of our walk. We spent the time watching TV sitting cozily in our open space lounge. We finished The Sinner which is  very recommendable but we didn't like the first episode of the much publicised Netflix produced Mindhunters. 

While we were having a cozy time, terror struck in Egypt. In the worst attack in the history of the country, a big group of terrorists bombed and gunned a Sufi Muslim Mosque in North Sinai during Friday prayers. 
The Mosque  in Egypt which suffered a terrible attack on Friday 
They killed over 300 people and injured  more than 120. Isis has not claimed authorship yet, although it is pretty obvious it was them as the terrorists were carrying Isis flags.  They consider Sufi Muslims (mystical branch of Islam) heretics and target them.  I read that Sufi Muslims revere saints and shrines, which Islamists consider tantamount to idolatry. How terrible to be killed when at prayer in a church or mosque in this case.  

Saturday morning was cold and wet. I was up at 6.15 and it rained most of the morning. We got a message just after breakfast from Eladio's sister to say that Tino, a man from the village, had died the day before, aged 67 of a heart attack and that his funeral would be held in the afternoon at 4.30 p.m. In Spain funerals take place the day after decease. We would be going of course.

While I lovingly prepared our lunch - cocido madrileño - a delicious Spanish winter dish made of chick peas, different sorts of meat and bones as well as vegetables, Eladio  ventured outside in the drizzle to sew grass on the land behind our houses. Luckily, at midday, the rain stopped and we braved the weather to go on our walk to Senra and back. It would be the first time I wore my new blue coat which is beautifully warm.  As we opened the gates, I saw one of the food lorries arrive. There are no shops either in Montrondo or in the surrounding villages but there are various food lorries that come during the week. Our neighbours Salo and Carmina came out with their wooden clogs (madreñas)  which people always wear here when it is wet. I always find them very quaint so asked permission to take a photo for my blog to share with you.
Food shopping in Montrondo - notice the footwear the ladies from the village are wearing to protect from the rain - "madreñas" (wooden clogs worn over slippers).
Once again we passed the local cattle, cows of various types. Eladio told me the rusty brown ones are the native breed of cows in this area; "vacas serranas". Google tells me the translation into English is highland cows which makes sense as Montrondo is in the mountains or high lands. 
"Vacas serranas", the indigenous cows of this area.
I think the cows were as delighted as us that the sun finally came out as they grazed on the rather dry pastures. Hopefully the rain will have helped replenish otherwise nearly empty  reservoirs but apparently a lot more rain is needed for them to be at their normal level.

After coffee at Cumbres de Omaña, we walked home stopping at the old bakery in Murias de Paredes for me to buy local flour, especially the rye flour. While there I admired the sourdough (masa madre in Spanish) ready for the bread to be made on Monday, as well as the old weighing scales which Raquel, the baker, used to weigh my flour. I also took some pics and made this collage. The container and hook for the dough were simply enormous. 
The old bakery in Murias de Paredes
Carrying 2 kilos of rye and 1 kilo of wheat flour we walked home from Murias, looking forward to my "cocido madrlieño" for lunch. When all the ingredients are cooked, you remove the stock to make a soup and eat the rest dry as you can see in the photo below. As usual, I made too much.
"Cocido madrileño" a delicious winter dish 
The news that day was dominated by the attack on the mosque in Egypt where the death toll rose kept on rising. The Egyptian Government vowed to take revenge which would mean more bloodshed.

I also learned from the 3 p.m. news that Saturday was the International day for the elimination of violence against women. Many demonstrations were held around Spain that day. One in three women in Europe have experienced either physical and or sexual violence since the age of 15. Me too, as you will know from a recent blog post of mine. One in three girls in developing countries is married under the age of 18. And in supposedly developed Europe, 50 women die every week from male domestic violence. Think about that. Sexual and physical violence to women happens everywhere and all the time. Interested in the statistics, especially in Europe, I searched the web for surveys and studies. There is one from the EU published in 2014. It had many findings including these: "95% of all acts of violence taking place within the home are against women. One in three women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence since the age of 15. Every second woman has been confronted with one or more forms of sexual harassment. 75 % of women in top management positions have experienced sexual harassment at work". The link to the article in The Guardian on the study included a chart from 2012 which you can see below on the ranking in Europe of physical and sexual violence against women. You will be surprised to see which are the worst countries for this. 
Ranking of physical and sexual violence against women in Europe. 
The top 3 positions are occupied by Denmark, Finland and Sweden. That really surprised me as the Nordic countries in general are famous for their gender equality. How come then that there is more aggression against women there than in the other countries? Maybe the culprit is alcohol.  I have no other explanation. 

The EU  report on the subject recommends we all improve education, legislation and change social norms to eliminate gender-based violence. Will that ever happen? On the bright side the recent #metoo movement and one I adhere to, is at least drawing attention to the extent of it and has encouraged victims to speak out. I was one of them who did so recently.  

Soon it was time to attend the funeral at the church in Montrondo. The hearse had arrived and there were lots of people, many who had come from both near and afar to pay their respects. There were so many people outside so I asked why the funeral hadn't started inside. Well, it had and  apparently there were just as many people inside as out. That is very typical in Spain and is not frowned upon. The important thing is to be there, either outside or in, to pay your respects. We too gave our condolences to Ulpiano the older brother and his sister Tere. We also spoke to many of the villagers Eladio knew better than I, from his childhood of course. It was freezing cold and I was glad of my new thermal down feather coat. Unusually for a funeral in Montrondo, there would be no burial but rather incineration in nearby La Magdalena. 

We came home to a beautifully warm house and to little Pippa anxiously waiting for us. She hates it when we leave her alone at home but I must say behaves perfectly and never barks. 

Home at around 5 p.m. I had just enough time to make bread and I would use some of the flour from the Murias bakery. I mixed different flours; rye, wheat, spelt and wholemeal. The whole process takes about 3 hours; kneading, proving twice and then the baking. This time I made the loaves slightly thicker to get more crumb. While it was proving, I watched more of Series two of Victoria and love it. I don't want it to finish. 

The bread was ready by 8 p.m. just in time to have with our dinner. This is what it looked like.
The bread I made last night
I have to say it was delicious and Eladio agreed. I think I am improving and have the right  technique now that suits both our tastes best,.

And today is Sunday, our last day here. It is -4ºc outside as I write early in the morning but it is dry. The rain has gone and the sun in November will be returning.  We shall be leaving after lunch and I have quite a busy week ahead of me. Naturally, I shall be telling you all about it in next week's post.

Meanwhile, friends and readers, I wish you all a happy Sunday,

Cheers till next time,

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